Kenya U20 go down fighting against Samoa in World Rugby U20 opener

Kenya U20 squad in a Barthes Cup event. Photo Courtesy/KRU

Kenya U20 lost 34-25 to Samoa in the World Rugby U20 Trophy match played at Nyayo Stadium on Saturday.

Chipu faced a formidable challenge as they went up against Samoa, a team with an impressive track record in the competition, having claimed victory twice in 2011 and 2016, and losing only one match in this competition.

Despite the ultimate defeat, Chipu put up a good fight in the match.

Kenya U20 opener

In the opening 10 minutes of the match, Kenya took the lead by scoring the first try. The ball swiftly changed hands during Kenya’s initial attacking challenge, and fullback Faran Juma made a quick pass to Stanislaus Shikoli, who touched down near the left corner flag.

However, Samoa swiftly responded three minutes later with a clever low kick from Afa Molela, creating a line break. He then released the supporting player Paul Stanley, who accelerated towards the left corner and scored a try, levelling the scores at 5-5 after a missed conversion.

Shortly before the 20th minute, Samoa gained a penalty and successfully kicked it to take an 8-5 lead. Unfortunately for Samoa, their winger Stanley was yellow carded eight minutes later due to a late tackle that he failed to wrap.

Despite having the numerical advantage, Kenya failed to capitalize and instead conceded another try to Samoa. This time, right winger William Hunt crossed the try line, extending Samoa’s lead. As the teams headed into halftime, Samoa held a 13-5 advantage.

In the second half, Wambugu converted a penalty for a 13-8 scoreline. Samoa however extended the lead when their captain John Mata Samuelu landed a try off the ruck to extend lead.

Kenya later lost Wambugu following a yellow card and Samuelu grabbed another try for a 27-8 lead.

Just before the hours’ mark, Samoa lost their captain Samuelu for 10 minutes due to a yellow card and later had Saba Abulashvili also yellow carded minutes later leaving them with 13 men.

Kenya U20 late tries

Kenya fought on and scored through substitute Wycliffe Otieno after camping in Samoa’s zone. The conversion was on point with the scoreline changing to 27-13.

Samoa conceded another yellow card but Kenya failed to make the numbers count and it was the Samoans who scored through Hunt for a 34-13 scoreline.

In the 77th minute, Chipu landed a try off a maul but David Spenser failed to convert. Kenya capitalized on a late mistake by Samoa and scored through Raphael Wanga to send the stands into cheers.

The teams are expected back in action on Thursday.

Kenya U20 squad for World U20 Trophy:

1.Geylord Ngasi, 2. Jeremy Odhiambo, 3.Raymond Chacha, 4.Stanslas Shikoli, 5.Andycole Omolo, 7. Laban Kipsang, 7. Iddo Kuta, 8.Jacktone Omondi, 9. Patrick Wainaina, 10. Eddy Murage, 11. Raphael Wanga, 12. Felix Chacha, 13. Michael Wamalwa (C), 14. Alvin Kalori, 15. Faran Juma

16. George Otieno, 17. Wicklife Otieno, 18.Mike Oduor, 19. Edmond Omondi, 20. Vincent Omondi, 21. Brian Mwendwa, 22. Davies Spencer 23. Victor Odhiambo

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